Information Research & Analysis: Needed Skill for Students

Information Research & Analysis: Needed Skill for Students

The impact of internet is such that children are overwhelmed by the ample information they can get and so they often forget the importance of salient determination.

Web has marked an important presence in every student’s life and so, for every confusion students tend to Google it be it academic or not. However, what amuses me is that this integral part of every student’s life is being ignored. Research and analysis is important to teach our kids the right web consumption.

There are millions of links for every word you search and one cannot go through these million links. But one should know how to pick the right resource and make their search more accurate.

While my research for the piece I came across this quote by a Teacher at College Board School, speaks, “The Internet is empowering, but it’s empowering everyone’s opinion and everyone wants to get their information out there, and we need to try to teach the students to be more discriminators – have greater discrimination about the quality of the information they’re accessing.”  

This statement is appropriate for the way we acquire information. Students need to learn to discriminate the quality of the information that they access in order to make the ethical use of web for their own good. And not just this there are a lot many aspects to this skill like compiling information, citing resources that are being used and more such that needs to be addressed.   

Pew Research Center showcases a post on their site titled “Teaching Research Skills in Today’s Digital Environment” by Kristen Purcell, Lee Rainie, Alan Heaps, Judy Buchanan, Linda Friedrich, Amanda Jacklin, Clara Chen and Kathryn Zickuhr. This post addresses middle and high school students in regard to the skills they will need to be smart information seekers in the digital age. Teachers in this study place tremendous value on research skills, with most reporting assigning a research paper to their students for an academic year and spending the class time teaching various research skills to their students. Most notable among these is the inability to judge the quality of information, a skill the vast majority of teachers deem “essential” for their students’ future success.

Based on the report, the following skills are essential and should be taught to students in order to help them make the best use of web.

1. How to evaluate the quality of information,

2. How to recognize what information is and is not relevant to the question at hand, and

3. How to synthesize information from multiple sources into a coherent piece of work.

Valuing the skills teachers emphasized on various skills they believed that today’s students will need in the future, “Judging the quality of information and writing effectively”. These two skills were described as “essential” by 91% of the teachers who participated in the survey.  Other skills relevant to the current digital culture also ranked high, with large majorities of teachers saying that “behaving responsibly online” (85%) and “understanding privacy issues surrounding online and digital content” (78%) are “essential” to their students’ later success in life.

What we have concluded from the report is that it is essential for students to have an understanding of the right and efficient use of web and for this, the skill of Information Research and Analysis is crucial. The digital life that we live today makes it important to use web and consume information with responsibility and hence it is important to teach students the art of doing so. Students must know the righty resources, the right keywords they need to use to optimize the search, how to find these keywords, picking up the quality and reliable links, understanding of the copyright to the information, their limit to the use of information, right citations and maintain the balance of authenticity while creating their piece of work.

What can be done to help students gain this skill?

To help students acquire these skills it is essential that they are taught the strategies to make the efficient use of web. Educators can help students develop these skills with their daily assignment by making slight changes. Educators can spend class time teaching and developing these skills, and by designing assignments that require students to use new or different approaches. Also, schools should consider making this a part of the digital citizenship curriculum where students are taught the importance of using the right resources form the web and enables them to differentiate the many resources on the basis of the quality. Also it is important that students understand that the work they do must be authentic. They can use the information from the web to have an understanding and learn about things but they can’t use someone else’s work without permission and to an extent only with permission with citations.

All in all, it is essential that authorities give this need a though and consider including this as one of the crucial skills that we need to teach students like others. What is your take on this? Do you think that educators should make a move to help students understand about the importance of using the information and research skills efficiently?

Share with us in the comment section below.   

About the Author
Author: Priyanka Gupta
Priyanka is a blogger by profession and has an increasing interest to write about the edtech space. While writing she keeps in mind the educators to come up with right resources and ideas which might be relevant for them in relation to effective use of technology in their profession and institutions/classrooms.
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